This is the first credible account of the May 13, 1969 racial riots in Malaysia using documents recently declassified at the Public Records Office, London after the lapse of the 30-year secrecy rule. These documents provide the only available confidential observations and memoranda by British and other foreign embassy operatives based on their intelligence and contacts with local officials and politicians. They include dispatches by correspondents which were then banned in Malaysia. The local media were suspended at the time and local documents remain classified under the Official Secrets Act.
A social scientist, Kua Kia Soong provides a fresh political analysis of this “May 13 Incident”. In his view, the riots were by no means a spontaneous outburst of violence between Malays and Chinese but rather a planned coup d’etat by the ascendant state capitalist class against the Tunku-led aristocracy. He discusses the contradictions of the post-Independence Alliance racial formula and traces the rise of this new Malay capitalist class which has ruled Malaysia since 1969.
These documents clearly show who were responsible for the violence and pose the question, why the security forces allowed the violence to go on. With this publication, it is hoped that the frequently raised “spectre of May 13”by the Barisan Nasional government will be forever put to rest.
Dr Kua Kia Soong is a director of the human rights organization SUARAM and principal of the community-funded New Era College. He was Opposition Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya(1990-95), director of Huazi Research Centre(1985-90), political detainee under the ISA(1987-89), and lecturer at the National University of Singapore(1978-79). He studied his BA Econ(1975), MA Econ(1976) and PhD in Sociology(1981) in Manchester University, UK.